History of Long Term Care

This section of ElderWeb is a comprehensive overview of how our long term care system has evolved by examining the events and decisions that changed the way that we have provided and paid for the care of our elderly over the years.

Be sure to look at the narratives and illustrations in the Appendix. Many photos and documents come from the wonderful Library of Congress American Memories collection. There are also graphs, tables, and charts of data like changes in life expectancy and long term care utilization.

Co-Housing, A New Senior Housing Option?

An old idea, the boardinghouse, might be a good solution for mostly independent seniors. It makes a lot of sense especially for single seniors, like widows and widowers, to keep them plugged into society and help avoid isolation. Buildings with independent apartments that seniors can retreat to for privacy, but shared kitchens, gardens, and gathering places, could be really interesting options. Unlike retirement villages you wouldn't be paying for services, just sharing the space with others. And since you're sharing spaces the cost of the individual apartments should also be less than a standard apartment rental. It feels like this concept could have interesting possibilities.

Risk Factors for Financial Abuse

Apparently there really is such a thing as being “too nice” for your own good – especially when it comes to seniors and financial fraud and exploitation. 

According to recent research from True Link Financial, an elderly adult described by others as “extremely friendly” is 4X statistically more likely to fall victim to high amounts of senior financial fraud. True Link Financial, which released a full report summarizing findings on senior financial fraud last month, calls this phenomenon, “Friendly Grandparent Syndrome.”  As True Link CEO and founder Kai Stinchcombe explains, “You tell mom to hang up on telemarketers, but she is just too polite to hang up on anyone, and before you know it, she’s ready to bake them cookies.”

According to True Link’s research, telemarketers aren’t the only ones who take advantage of the kindness of seniors. Unscrupulous charities and fundraising organizations know that a friendly senior with cognitive issues is a potential gold mine. 

Another group that often preys on kind seniors is home repair scammers, who can trick a senior into thousands of dollars in needless or ridiculously overpriced repairs.

As Stinchcombe explains, “Not only can they take advantage of extreme kindness, these shady ‘charitable’ organizations also take advantage of the fact that seniors with cognitive issues may not remember the contributions they’ve already made.”


White House Conference on Aging

The White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) is launching a series of regional forums to engage with older Americans, their families, caregivers, leaders in the aging field, and others on the key issues affecting older Americans. Meeting locations include Tampa, FL on February 19th; Phoenix, AZ on March 31st; Seattle, WA on April 9th; Cleveland, OH on April 27th; and Boston, MA on May 28th. The forums are designed to help provide input and ideas for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, which will be held in Washington, DC later this year.

“These forums allow us the opportunity to listen and learn from older adults and stakeholders as we continue to sharpen the vision of this year’s Conference and to directly engage with individuals across the country about these important issues,” said Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging, “The regional forums will help ensure that as many voices as possible are part of the conversation around the 2015 Conference.”


Seniors Take Manhattan

New York is “one of the global leaders” in adapting to the needs of older residents, says John Beard, the Geneva-based director of the Department of Aging and Life Course for the World Health Organization.

In 2007, WHO initiated an ambitious project to encourage age-friendly cities, with a range of goals that could apply to every metropolis in the world. The details included tangible things like non-slippery pavements, buildings with elevators, easy access to public toilets, and plenty of outdoor seating, along with fuzzier concepts like “respect and social inclusion.” New York was the first to join WHO’s global network of age-friendly cities.  


Hearing-Aid Intervention Helps Individuals Gradually Adjust to Devices

When individuals wear their hearing aids for the first time, they are flooded with sounds they have not heard in months or years; yet, previous research has shown that not all new sounds are welcomed. Ambient noises such as air conditioners, wind and background conversations can be painful, irritating and difficult to ignore, causing some individuals to stop using their hearing aids right away. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has developed an intervention that helps older adults gradually increase their hearing-aid use and satisfaction with the devices.

How technology is helping older people live safer, healthier lives

The reality, says expert Andrew Carle, is completely different from the perception. Carle, director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University and a consultant on aging issues, coined the term “Nana Technology” for innovations that not only help our aging population, but actually can save their lives.

Carle was in Minnesota in June to give a talk to Aging Services of Minnesota in Brooklyn Center on “Nana Technology: Is There A Robot In Your Future?”


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